by Austin Chant
read in March 2017
All I knew about Coffee Boy before reading it, was that the main character is a trans man. And that was enough for me! Because of the title and cover, I had expected him to be a barista in a coffee shop, but that was definitely not the case! Still, this novella was very enjoyable.
I’m a cisgender woman, so my review really doesn’t matter. This book is #OwnVoices, because Austin Chant is a queer trans man. Still, I have to convince you to read this as well!
First of all, I love that we got to read about a trans man who doesn’t always pass (e.g. Kieran wears a pronouns pin). When trans people are represented in media – which is almost never – they often pass very easily. However, there are many more trans people who do not pass so easily or who cannot afford or do not want to undergo surgeries. And I love that Chant showed us that side as well.
This is an M/M New Adult romance and there is one explicit sex scene. Once again, as a cisgender person I don’t know much about it, but I really loved how the author handled it. None of the sexual acts had anything to do with the stereotypical, cisgender and heterosexual idea of what sex should be like. The cisgender bisexual man was actually the bottom and even though that’s only a detail, that seemed very important to me.
As I have mentioned a few times before, I love diverse stories that don’t revolve around that aspect of the character. This isn’t a story about a closeted Kieran who is dramatically outed to his entire workspace and has to deal with the aftermath of that. No. This is a cute M/M romance about Kieran who is a trans man. Having said that though, he does have to deal with micro-aggressions at his workplace, such as people using the wrong pronouns. But the conversations about those micro-aggressions seem so very real and (I hate to say it, but) important.
As a bisexual woman, I was kind of iffy about the way the bisexual character was represented as one point. The following quote didn’t sit well with me:
“God, you are the tragic gay man.”
Seth smiles. “I’m bisexual.”
“Oh.” Kieran swallows his food. “I guess that’s more original.”
First of all, Kieran knew that Seth had been married to a woman. So why did he assume he was gay? Secondly, the last sentence kind of implies that bisexual people identify as such to be considered “different” and “edgy”.
Having said that, that was the only instance I noticed such phrasing, so I might have interpreted it wrong.
Kieran is brutally honest and blunt. Most of the time, I dislike such characters, but that wasn’t the case with him!
I cannot wait to read Peter Darling, Chant’s other book. The ‘about the author’ section says he always writes about trans characters who get the love they deserve, so I’m looking forward to that!
conclusion: Coffee Boy was a fast-paced and diverse M/M romance! I would recommend this to everyone, though be aware that there is one explicit sex scene.